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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Whitehall lobbied over future of Waverley Viaduct

A long-running campaign to get a disused railway viaduct reopened has reached the desk of a senior Government figure.

Waverley Viaduct photo
The Waverley Viaduct

Dan Rogerson, an under-secretary in the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is being lobbied to back the Waverley Viaduct battle.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson has brought the minister into the case as work continues to form a trust with the aim of securing the cash needed to take responsibility for crossing.

Activists have also been briefing English Heritage as they step up their efforts can push for the bridge over the River Eden – linking the Cumberland Infirmary to Etterby and Stainton – to be included in the route of a nationwide coastal path.

There is a strong campaign for the viaduct to be reopened as a pedestrian crossing.

British Rail Board Residuary (BRB), which is responsible for the Grade II-listed structure, put up the fences in 2009 as a temporary measure to stop vandalism.

Its current planning permission for those barriers expires next year – giving campaigners a window of opportunity to achieve their goal to open it up.

After meeting with activists, Mr Stevenson said: “Waverley Bridge is well known and it is a waste that it is currently not used.

“I am pleased that this campaign group continue to fight to open the bridge to the public. Becoming a trust will hopefully give them extra leverage for funding and create an organisation that becomes responsible for the bridge.

“I support what they are trying to achieve and I do hope that compromises can be reached which will allow the bridge to be opened up to the public.”

Among those the MP met was David Ramshaw, who set up www.savethewaverleyviaduct.co.uk, said: “We want to see the bridge opened as part of the coastal path and wanted to get Mr Stevenson behind us.”

More than 2,400 people signed a petition in 2010 calling for the viaduct to be reopened.

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